If you’re anything like me, animals in need pull at my heartstrings! But how can you help those animals without being scammed?

Scams Are All Too Common

According to CNBC in 2021, in the previous 12 months, almost 1 in 3 Americans (roughly 59.4 million Americans) have been victimized by a phone scam and 19% were victimized more than once!

In 2014, scams affected 17.6 million Americans rising
to a shocking 59.4 million Americans in 2021!

A dog in need looking through a wire fence
Shelter Dog Looking through Wire Fence

Sadly, scamming has also affected the most vulnerable including animals in need. Probably because scammers know their potential victims are easier to manipulate when it comes to heartbreaking stories and images of helpless animals.

Before you get swept up in a potentially fraudulent scam, use the 9 tips below to protect yourself, your heart and your bank account when supporting animals in need!

Read Susan’s cautionary tale about being scammed
for “shelter dogs!”

9 Tips to Avoid Being Scammed over Animals in Need

Woman doing research on a laptop
Woman Doing Research on a Laptop
  1. When thinking about donating to a cause, make sure you do your research before pulling out your checkbook or credit card! Never make a quick decision based solely on your heightened emotions; scammers expect you to do that!
  2. Be on high alert for “causes” that suddenly pop up in reference to a well-publicized crisis, disaster or emergency.
  3. Only give to registered public 501(c)(3) organizations. A legitimate non-profit will always be able to provide its EIN (Employer Identification Number). Ask for it and if they cannot provide it, keep your money!
  4. Remember, it’s easy to publish a website and it proves nothing! Make sure the EIN number is clearly noted on their website before making any donation.
  5. Always do your research instead of just being swayed by emotional pictures. Images do not prove a cause or organization is legitimate! Use independent evaluator platforms to ensure the charity you are considering is a lawful entity.
  6. Always donate through the non-profit’s official channels, not an individual.
  7. Non-profits will always offer various secure payment options. If payments are requested in cash, gift cards or wire transfers, run the other way!
  8. It is common practice to ask for an official receipt (with the printed name and address of the charity) for tax purposes. If the organization does not want to give you a receipt, put away your checkbook or card!
  9. Get recommendations from pet professionals for legitimate organizations that genuinely help animals in need.

Click here for additional charity evaluator resources online.

Finding Legitimate Animal Charities

Woman's hands holding cash
Woman Holding Out a Handful of Cash

It’s always wonderful to pay it forward and help those in need, including animals! But make sure you are also keeping yourself safe before donating. If you’re looking for a new non-profit to support, do some research online first.

These are some of the most well-known organizations dedicated to supporting animals in need: ASPCA, The Humane Society of the United States, The American Humane Society and Best Friends Animal Society.

But of course, there are other animal charities you can support! The resources below can help. But remember, no matter which resource you use do your research on the actual non-profit so you understand:

  • How much of your money is helping the animals (versus admin and overhead costs); and
  • Exactly where your donation is going.

Here are some current 2022 resources to also check out:

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